This blog provides an informal forum for terrestrial invertebrate watchers to post recent sightings of interesting observations in the southern Vancouver Island region. Please send your sightings by email to Jeremy Tatum (jtatum@uvic.ca). Be sure to include your name, phone number, the species name (common or scientific) of the invertebrate you saw, location, date, and number of individuals. If you have a photograph you are willing to share, please send it along. Click on the title above for an index of past sightings.The index is updated most days.

March 04

2014 March 4

 

   Gordon Hart writes:  I was at home today and saw lots of activity on the heather and other early blooms. I saw at least three species of bumblebee, plus many flies. I have attached a picture of a small moth with yellowish hindwings that we see every year in spring- like a miniature butterfly. Also attached are pictures of two flies.

 

  Jeremy Tatum comments:  The moth is Epirrhoe plebeculata, one of the early spring geometrids that often flies at the same time as Mesoleuca gratulata.  I have been trying for years to find the caterpillar.  It is said to feed on Galium, like other members of its genus, but I have usually seen the moth flying in areas where there is no sign of any species of Galium, and I suspect the caterpillar may have some other foodplant. 

 

  Anyone who rears caterpillars will recognize the large bristly fly as a species of tachinid.  These are flies whose maggots are internal parasitoids of insect larvae, including butterfly and moth caterpillars.  I don’t know the smaller fly; it may be a small syrphid, but I’m not sure.

 

Epirrhoe plebeculata (Lep.: Geometridae) Gordon Hart

Tachinid fly (Dip.: Tachinidae) Gordon Hart

 

 

Unknown fly   Gordon Hart

 

March 01

2015 March 1

 

   Bill Katz reports an Orthosia hibisci from the Interfaith Chapel at UVic on February 28.  

 

   Bill sends a photograph of a species of snout from his Summit Hill garage, February 28.  Jeremy writes: “I can’t tell for certain what species it is, though I think it is most likely Hypena decorata”.

 

Hypena (maybe decorata) (Lep.: Erebidae – Hypeninae)

Bill Katz

 

 

   Bill also sends photos of a pug and a wave from the Nature House at Goldstream Park, March 1. 

 

Eupithecia ravocostaliata (Lep.: Geometridae) Bill Katz

 

 

Venusia obsoleta (Lep.: Geometridae) Bill Katz

 

 

   On February 17 we posted a picture of a geometrid caterpillar photographed by Scott Gilmore at Upper Lantzville on Ceanothus thyrsiflorus.   We speculated that it might be a species of Drepanulatrix.  Scott writes that these caterpillars have now pupated, and we wait with excitement to see what they turn out to be.  The green pupa has only just been formed.  In a day or two it will be as hard and brown as the others.

 

 Geometrid pupae – possibly Drepanulatrix sp. (Lep.: Geometridae) Scott Gilmore

 

 

February 25

2015 February 25

 

   Bill Katz reports an American Tissue Moth Triphosa haesitata in his Summit Hill garage on February 23.

 

   Gordon Hart writes:  While I have been back at work, my wife , Anne-Marie, has been spotting butterflies in our yard. First was a Satyr Comma on Feb 17 and on Feb 23 what appears to be a Green Comma , P. faunus

Green Comma Polygonia faunus (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Anne-Marie Hart

 

   Jeremy Tatum reports that he saw a European Paper Wasp Polistes dominula

at Blenkinsop Lake on February 24.

February 24

2015 February 24

 

            Leah Ramsay sends a photo of the pug Eupithecia graefii from the Saanich Peninsula on the very early date of February 15.

 

Eupithecia graefii (Lep.: Geometridae) Leah Ramsay

 

   Val George sends a photo of his first butterfly of the year –  a Satyr Comma from Island View Beach, February 23.

Satyr Comma Polygonia satyrus (Lep.: Nymphalidae) Val George

 

February 23

2015 February 23

 

   Jeremy Tatum writes:   I saw my first butterfly of the year today – a Mourning Cloak at Swan Lake.

 

   Jeff Gaskin writes:  Today, February 23, I saw my first Cabbage Whites of the year and it’s the first time I’ve ever seen them in February. One was on Harriet Road at Chown Place, and the other one was on Balfour Place. Both butterflies are in the Gorge/Burnside neighbourhood.

 

    Jeremy comments:  I don’t think I have ever seen one in February either, so this is indeed an early record.  Satyr Commas and Mourning Cloaks spend the winter as adult butterflies, and so in principle might be found in any month of the year.  Cabbage Whites, on the other hand, spend the winter in the pupal stage, so Jeff’s record represents an early emergence.